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Latest Announcements from the Ultimate Princess Celebration!

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Earlier this year, Disney launched the Ultimate Princess Celebration , a year-long event to honor all things princess. In August, the event culminated with World Princess Week , during which they premiered the music video for  "Starting Now,"  the newest Disney Princess anthem. However, the festivities did not end there. To continue the celebration, Disney just released the first doll from their new set of designer princess dolls , the Ultimate Glamorous Collection . Instagram has also been abuzz with upcoming Disney Princess goodies including a sneak peek at Disney Princess: The Concert  and the 30th anniversary of the classic animated Disney version of "Beauty and the Beast."  Let's dive in to explore the latest announcements from the Ultimate Princess Celebration! Princess Jasmine takes the spotlight this month with the first release from the Ultimate Glamorous Collection, the newest set of Disney Princess designer dolls. I was hoping that Disney would relea

Review: The Sorcerer and the Swan Princess

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The Sorcerer and the Swan Princess  is the third book that I have read in the Villain's Ever After series . I've been skipping around because the series contains too many books to keep up with on a regular basis. This one stood out to me after enjoying several of Lucy Tempest 's recent fairy tale books and because the story of "Swan Lake" has always fascinated me due to its many possible interpretations . While this book follows the same basic structure as the others I've read  in which the prince or princess falls in love with the villain instead of their traditional love interest, it also had a few clever twists that made it stand out. It takes place in the same fairy tale world as Lucy Tempest's other books , so it can be interpreted as the latest installment in the Fairy Tales of Folkshore series just as easily as the Villain's Ever After series. Princess Ava's sister, Lina, has always been jealous of her claim to the throne, but Ava never re

Review: Beasts of Beauty

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I had no idea what I was in for when I agreed to read an ARC of Beasts of Beauty  by Celeste Baxendell , the third book in the Bewitching Fairy Tales series. This book really packs a punch! I had read the first book in this series, Stalks of Gold , but I don't remember it being quite as heartwrenching as this one. It is not a light read. If you attempt to climb this mountain of a book, you must be prepared to have your heart ripped out and squeezed into pieces. However, the story is amazing and well worth it if you are in the right mood. It is a gender-bent retelling of "Beauty and the Beast" and "Little Red Riding Hood" and tells both in an innovative way. I loved and hated it at the same time for the way it manipulated my emotions. In this gender-bent retelling of  "Beauty and the Beast"  and  "Little Red Riding Hood,"  Chasen takes on the roles of both Beauty and Red Riding Hood. When his sister tells him about a ferocious beast living i

Review: Diana The Musical

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Recent events  discourage mass gatherings including live shows . As a result, it has never been easier to access professional recordings online that we would have never otherwise been able to see without an expensive ticket and a potential road trip. One such show is a new Broadway musical about the life of Princess Diana , who died tragically young almost fifteen years ago. This musical dropped on Netflix last Friday, the same streaming service that hosts The Crown , which also covers a major portion of Diana's life in its most recent season. Between the two productions, The Crown gives much deeper insight into Diana's ascension to royalty and subsequent downfall. As a fan of musical theater, I was expecting a lot more from the stage show. It has lackluster songs and a superficial plot that covers only the basics of Diana's relationship with Prince Charles and never delves into the deeper emotions and themes produced by their struggles. Upon watching this musical, I coul

Review: The Dark King and the Eternal Dance

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The Dark King and the Eternal Dance  is the second book I've read in  A Villain's Ever After , though it is not the second book in the series. I received an ARC copy from Camille Peters , who wrote the other book I read from this series, The Beast and the Enchantress . Camille supposedly encouraged Alesha Adamson to become an author and contribute to A Villain's Ever After, which is a very sweet thing to do for a friend. We could all use a good friend who encourages us to share our passions with the world as a true modern princess would. This book is based on "The Twelve Dancing Princesses," which is one of my favorite fairy tales, but one of my least favorite to read adaptations of . Most authors prefer to turn the tale into a horrific nightmare about siblings who are forced to go out each night and perform tasks against their will instead of an escapist fantasy about twelve sheltered princesses who sneak out to enjoy some freedom from the confines of their c

Review: Time Princess - White Snake Visual Novel

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There was a heightened level of anticipation for the latest visual novel in the Time Princess phone game. This was the longest the app has gone without a new story in quite some time, and I was informed by some fellow social media players that the Chinese Legend of the White Snake  is incredibly popular in Asia. Although I was not familiar with it before reading this visual novel, the popular myth has had several recent film and television adaptations . Upon first glance, I was worried that this story would just be a copy of Tang Dynasty Hunter , another recent visual novel from this app, but after playing both, I realized that the similarities were purely superficial. While both stories take place in China and follow their mythology of demons as objects or animals that can transform into humans, Tang Dynasty Hunter follows a human who hunts demons, and White Snake features a demon in disguise as a human. White Snake tells the story of Suzhen, a white snake demon who spends her time

Review: The Thorn Princess

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After taking a brief hiatus from the weirdly specific genre of girls from the real world who find out they're actually faery princesses , I decided to take a risk and dive into  The Thorn Princess  by Bekah Harris . This wasn't the worst book I've read with this plot, but it had all the usual suspects of paranormal YA fantasy romance novels. There's the average down-on-her-luck teen protagonist who's so unremarkable that any reader can place themselves in her shoes, the quirky best friend, and the oh-so-sexy supernatural love interest who comes into her life like a whirlwind to whisk her away to a fantasy land. Despite all of these stereotypes, the story was enjoyable enough for what it was. There were no major plotholes, and the characters remained consistent throughout. However, it was so similar to other books in this genre that I felt no motivation to read more of the series once I completed it. The Thorn Princess  centers around Ivy Hawthorne, the lost heir

Why Are Princesses Always Targets?

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This is a sort of follow-up to my post about "How Princesses Represent Hope."  Being a princess in a fantasy world often means having a neon target on your head. I do not want to use the word "victim" because that is separate from being a target. Modern princesses are more capable than ever of defending themselves , something that has changed over time  as a direct response to the "Damsel in Distress" stigma . Yet, the fact that princesses can defend themselves from threats has not changed the fact that they are constantly being threatened. Even in stories with male leads, it is usually the princess or female love interest who is threatened, not the hero himself. Take for example Megara's binding servitude to Hades in Hercules  or Frollo's relentless obsession with Esmeralda in The Hunchback of Notre Dame . There is a reason that princesses are coveted by heroes and villains alike.   I was inspired to write this post after being introduced to yet a

Review: Enspelled

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This book popped up as a surprise in Aya Ling 's latest newsletter. I could not be more pleased to learn that she wrote another book along the same lines as her Unfinished Fairy Tales series , which was a guilty pleasure of mine. Both books feature girls from the real world who are transported into less-than-desirable roles in well-known fairy tales, go on a new adventure in the same setting, and live happily ever after. Enspelled  is more overtly inspired by izekai anime and manga  than the Unfinished Fairy Tales books because the main character is transported into the story of "The Goose Girl" after getting killed by a truck, which is a classic trope in modern anime. In fact, the story bears an extremely strong resemblance to an anime I watched recently called My Next Life as a Villainess . Both stories feature a girl who wakes up in the body of the villain from a story she is already familiar with after getting hit by a truck and must struggle to block all the "d

Review: The Desert Princess

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Melanie Cellier  is the author who introduced me to the wide world of indie authors with her first fairy tale retelling, The Princess Companion . Since then, she has written roughly a dozen more adaptations of classic fairy tales set in the same world of fairy godmothers and true love. The most recent of these is The Desert Princess . After reading so many books from the world of the Four Kingdoms already, it's a little difficult to experience a new book from these series that feels fresh and exciting. The prospect of a gender-bent "Aladdin" retelling  is nothing new, but I was eager to see Melanie's unique take on it. However, this adaptation did not add any new developments to her many other fairy tale retellings set in this world. If you have never read another Melanie Cellier book before, this is a good introduction to her storytelling style. It has become a predictable trope for all of Melanie Cellier's fairy tale books to begin with a caravan raid that sends

Review: Cinderella (Amazon Prime 2021)

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The wait is finally over. The newest version of   Cinderella  starring pop sensation  Camila Cabello  is one of the films that was most affected by the theater closures during the lockdown. It was supposed to be released by Sony at the beginning of this year but was sold to Amazon Prime and released today instead. Does it live up to the hype ? Many fans of the original fairy tale  and its countless adaptations frown upon "jukebox musicals" that incorporate pre-existing songs, especially when there are already so many original musical adaptations of the story, including one that was just released in England this year . Though original songs are more creative and inspirational than something I've heard on the radio a million times, I appreciate that the marketing for this movie was honest and straightforward. Plus, the film's featured original song, "Million To One,"  is incredibly catchy and fun. Cinderella  was filmed prior to the pandemic when the world w

Review: Hearts at Dawn

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Earlier this month, I was generously offered the opportunity to read a review copy of Hearts at Dawn  by Alysa Salzberg . This book is a historical interpretation of "Beauty and the Beast."  Though I've read many adaptations of this beloved fairy tale, Hearts at Dawn  is an original take that I don't think has ever been done before. The story is so grounded in reality that it feels like something that could have actually happened during the Franco-Prussian War. It offers a unique narrative style that reminds me of Lemony Snicket from  A Series of Unfortunate Events  with a narrator who almost never appears in the story despite her emotional involvement. This is a great book for history buffs, though it lacks the whimsy and mystery of other "Beauty and the Beast" adaptations. One thing that makes Hearts at Dawn  stand out from other versions of "Beauty and the Beast" is that it is told from the perspective of the enchantress , though she is not the

World Princess Week Wraps Up with Disney Princess Remix Special!

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If you haven't heard the news, Disney is celebrating its princesses all year long with the Ultimate Princess Celebration . They took things a step further this week with the first ever World Princess Week, a week-long celebration dripping with princess merchandise, videos, specials, and music. Disney is a master of grand finales, so the festivities conclude today with a 30-minute special called Disney Princess Remixed: An Ultimate Princess Celebration airing on Disney Channel at 7:30PM PT/ET. The special is available to watch right now on both the Disney Now and Disney Plus apps. It consists of four remixed Disney Princess songs performed by teen Disney Channel stars and ends with the premiere of the official music video for the newest Disney Princess anthem, "Starting Now." Even if you're not a fan modernized Disney remakes , there were still plenty of fun princess things released this week to brighten our day. My favorite aspect of the Ultimate Princess Celebrat